Hotel Bon Sol ~ Mallorca’s greenest hotel?
I spent two nights at the Hotel Bon Sol Resort and Spa, five miles from Palma. It’s a 4-star resort, and could be a 5-star but Martin keeps it as a 4-star for the price and because he would have to make some adjustments for the extra star rating. Here are some interesting details about the running of the hotel.
Many hotels pay lip service to ‘green’ issues, but Hotel Bon Sol in Illetas, Mallorca has taken environmental policy very seriously from the original conception of the hotel back in 1953 and long before the ozone layer was a cause for concern. In 2001, Hotel Bon Sol received the Government Environmental Award ‘EMAS’ for its ecological achievments.
“The original owner of Bon Sol, Antonio Xamena, loved nature and had enormous respect for the natural world and combined it with offering traditional Mediterranean hospitality. Hotel Bon Sol was originally the Xamena family home, a former manor house on the old Bendinat Castle estate on a pine-clad hillside in Illetas, just west of Palma. The house was sympathetically restored and later developed into a hotel business and expanded. New additions over the years have included lifts (renewed winter 2014) and two tunnels linking the main cliff top building to the sea. A major engineering and environmentally challenging project, this was achieved over a 10 year period with the use of water-boring jet drills to minimise impact on the local environment – the the main consideration From the outset and at each subsequent stage of development.
Antonio’s forward-thinking principle was simply that each building needed enough green space around it to minimize disturbing the local environment and that sustainable practices and renewable / recyclable resources such as compost, almond shells, should be used wherever possible. Considering the global environmental concerns that threaten to overwhelm us 60 years, later, Antonio Xamena clearly showed incredible foresight. As his son, second generation owner Martin Xamena, claims “We were an environmentally-friendly concern, before the phrase was even invented!”
The hotel belongs to The Association of Sustainable Hotels in Mallorca and is committed to green practices in all areas of hotel management:
- Hotel Bonsol was the first building on the island to use solar panels in 1968.
- Almond shells from the island’s almond production power the heating since the hotel opened in 1953.
- A Heat Exchange system reuses air-conditioning heat in the summer.
- Waste refrigeration heat is recycled to heat the swimming pool.
- Waste Air conditioning heats the water for baths / showers.
- Recyled water from baths / showers is used to flush toilets
- The 10,000 sq ft subtropical gardens are cleverly designed and maintained with minimum use of recycled water.
- Ensuring the use of homegrown / locally sourced produce wherever possible
- The local Council organic waste, recycles sewage, paper, glass, containers.
Interestingly, some of these policies help to reduce running costs and some actually increase them (rainforest project maintenance costs are around 120,000 Euros p.a.)
CO2 emissions are a fairly recent global concern, but Bon Sol realised it was important to offset the emissions to balance their carbon footprint. Research calculated the CO2 effect of guests’ flights and the estimated amount produced in one week’s stay at the hotel, how much CO2 the hotel was producing annually and how many trees were needed to compensate. After several studies of treeplanting projects, the Xamena family decided the ideal place was Costa Rica where a number of years ago, a vast expanse of Rain forest had been destroyed to provide grazing land that was now depleted. In 2006, the Xamena family bought land equivalent to 240 football grounds and started to plant trees: half teak and half local rainforest trees.
More land was acquired in 2009 and several tree planting projects have since been completed – now equivalent to the size of 520 football fields with 230,000 trees. This project creates 6 months work a year for 30 local families involved in the planting and maintenance of these new forest areas.
Comments Bon Sol owner Martin Xamena ” Guests visiting Bonsol not only enhance their own health and wellbeing but also contribute to a sustainable future for nature and the environment. We are pleased and honoured to manage this long-lasting investment for the future on behalf of our valued guests who return to Bonsol year after year.”
The hotel is now run by Martin Xamena, his English wife Lorraine, and their son Alexandros. In the UK, the divorce rate in the catering trade is high, and a lot of the couples that are still together often snap at each other all the time, even in public. Martin and Lorraine though are obviously still very much in love, even though they live and work together 24 hours a day!
But let’s face it; it’s quite understandable in those gorgeous surroundings!
(Pause for a deep sigh.)
Clinging to the side of a mountain, the hotel has 146 rooms and villas, which are all different shapes and sizes to fit into their environment.
There are three swimming-pools, tennis courts, a luxury spa, and a table-tennis table.
Martin offered to play me, then chickened out when he heard how good I am!
I had a full body massage and an interesting chat with Nathanial in the spa. It seemed a shame to go in the pool after that as I was covered in lovely-smelling oils, so I waited for a few hours until after the buffet lunch.
In the evening, as we ate our dinner outside while the sun set and the moon rose out of the sea, we were serenaded by a Spanish guitarist who has been playing there for many years. He was very good, and really had his heart in it.
Most of the guests return year after year as they are guaranteed a high-quality service and a great holiday.
If you can drag yourself away from the hotel, there are some interesting shops down the road, and a regular bus to Palma.
Wonderful, but Oriental rug-makers deliberately knot in a mistake as they say that there’s no such thing as perfection.
So here are Lyn’s Knotty Bits – if you’ll pardon the expression!
Extra land was bought over many years, and the hotel complex was added to bit by bit.
But do note that it’s built on the side of a mountain, so there are a lot of steps to walk up and down. There’s no way of avoiding them.
It isn’t suitable for disabled people or wheelchairs. I’m pretty fit and healthy, and I was puffing in the heat!
It could do with some more signs giving directions. It’s a big complex, and we all kept getting lost until we got to know our way around.
Once, after breakfast where I’d overdone the freshly-squeezed orange juice (again,) I couldn’t find a loo or the way back to my room!
Oh boy, was I puffing then!
Hotel Bon Sol Resort & Spa has 146 rooms & villas spread through the grounds with excellent dining and leisure facilities including a luxury spa; 3 swimming pools, tennis, and a quiet beach cove (see www.hotelbonsol.es).
Classic Collection Holidays (www.classic-colllection.co.uk 0800 294 9318) offers 3 nights at Hotel Bon Sol from £597 per person or 7 nights from £1049). Prices based on 2 adults sharing a classic twin room on half-board basis with return flights from up to 24 UK airport and private transfers.